A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation, Yoga Practice, and the Sutras

1. What Is Yoga?

The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word Yuj, means to bind or yoke and is usually decoded as “union” or a manner of discipline. A male who exercise yoga is called a yogi, a female practitioner, a yogini.
The Indian saint Patanjali is believed to have modulated the practice of yoga into the Yoga Sutra an estimated two-thousand years ago. The Sutra is a collection of one hundred and ninety-five statements that serves as a philosophical guidebook for most of the yoga that is exercised today. It also outlines eight limbs of yoga:
The Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. As we analyze these eight limbs, we induct by revision our behavior in the outer world, and then we focus inwardly till we reach samadhi (enlightenment, liberation).
Nowadays most people practicing yoga are dissipated in the third limb, asana, which is a program of physical postures designed to refine the body and offer the physical stamina and strength required for long periods of meditation.

2. What Does Hatha Mean?

The word Hatha means forceful or willful. Hatha yoga relates to a set of physical exercises (known as postures or asanas), and series of asanas, designed to align your muscles bones, and skin. The postures are also designed to unveil the many channels of the body particularly the main channel, the spine so that energy can flow freely.
Hatha is also interpreted as ha means “the sun” and tha means “the moon.” This relates to the balance of masculine phases active, hot, the sun and feminine aspects receptive, cool, the moon within all of us. Hatha yoga is a path toward maintaining balance and uniting opposites. In our physical bodies, we evolve a balance of flexibility and strength. We also find out to balance our effort and surrender in each pose.
Hatha yoga is a strong tool for self-variation. It asks us to bring our attention to our breath, which helps us to still the instability of the mind and be more present in the revealing of every moment.


3. What Does Om Mean?

Om is a mantra or vibration that is traditionally chanted at the starting and ending of yoga sessions. It is said to be the sound of the world. What does that mean?
Somehow the pristine yogis knew what scientists today are telling us that the whole universe is moving. Nothing is ever still or solid. Everything that exists palpitate, creating a rhythmic vibration that the pristine yogis accepted with the sound of Om. We may not always be conscious of this sound in our daily lives, but we can hear it in the rustling of the autumn leaves, the waves on the shore, the inside of a seashell.
Chanting Om let us distinguish our experience as a mirror of how the whole universe moves the setting the sun, the rising moon, the reflux and flow of the tides, the beating of our hearts. As we chant Om, it takes us for a tour on this universal movement, through our breath, our awareness, and our physical energy and we begin to feel a bigger connection that is both soothing and uplifting.

4. Do I Have to Be Vegetarian to Exercise Yoga?

The first principle of yoga philosophy is ahimsa, which means non-hurting to self and others. Some people understand this to include not eating animal yields. There is a debate about this in the yoga community I believe that it is an individual decision that everyone has to make for ourselves. If you are thinking to become a vegetarian, be sure to take into account your personal health issues as well how your decisions will affect those with whom you live. Being a vegetarian should not be something that you inflict on others that kind of rampant action in itself is not an expression of ahimsa.

5. How Many Times Per Week Should I Exercise?

Yoga is incredible even if you only practice for one hour a week, you will experience the advantages of the practice. If you can do more than that, you will necessarily experience more advantages. I suggest starting with 2 or 3 times a week, for one hour or one hour and a half each time. If you can only do twenty minutes per session, that is fine too. Do not let time impaction or unrealistic goals are an interrupt do what you can and do not worry about it. You will likely find that after a while your desire to practice expands naturally and you will find yourself doing more and more.


6. How Is Yoga Apart From Stretching or Other types of Fitness?

Unlike fitness or stretching, yoga is more than just natural postures. Patanjali’s eight-fold path interprets how the physical practice is just one phase of yoga. Even within the physical exercise, yoga is wacky because we connect the movement of the body and the instability of the mind to the rhythm of our breath. Linking the mind, body, and breath assists us to straight our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our connatural thought examples without judging them labeling them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our pieces of knowledge from moment to moment. The awareness that we develop is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a goal or a task to be completed. Your body will become most likely much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.

7. Is Yoga a Religion?

Yoga is not a religion. It is a philosophy that begins in India an estimated five thousand years ago. The father of classical ashtanga yoga (the eight-limbed path, not to be confused with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga yoga) is called Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra. These scriptures provide a framework for spiritual growth and mastery over the mental and the physical body. Yoga sometimes interweaves other philosophies such as Buddhism or Hinduism, but it is not essential to study those paths in order to practice or study yoga.
It is also not essential to surrender your own religious beliefs to practice yoga.



8. I Am Not Flexible Can I Do Yoga?

Yes! You are a perfect aspirant for yoga. Many people think that they need to be flexible to start yoga, but that is a little bit like considering that you need to be able to play tennis in order to take tennis classes. Come as you are and you will find that yoga exercise will help you become more flexible.
This new-found activity will be balanced by coordination, strength, and enhanced cardiovascular health, as well as a sense of physical confidence and overall health.

9. What Do I Need to Begin?

All you really need to begin exercising yoga is your body, your mind, and a bit of curiosity. But it is also helpful to have a pair of yoga shorts, or leggings, and a t-shirt that’s not too loose. No special footwear is required because you will be barefoot. It is nice to bring a towel to class with you. As your practice develops you might want to buy your own yoga mat, but most yoga studios will have mats and other props available for you.

10. Why Are You Supposed to Refrain From Eating 3-2 Hours Before Class?

In yoga exercise we twist from side to side, turn upside down, and bend forward and backward. If you have not fully digested your previous meal, it will make itself known to you in ways that are not convenient. If you are a person with a fast-acting digestive system and are afraid you might feel feeble or get hungry during yoga class, experiment with a light snack such as a few nuts, yogurt, or juice about thirty minutes to an hour before class.


Author: Dr. Sushil Yogi


5 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation, Yoga Practice, and the Sutras

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